No room for silly mistakes

No room for silly mistakes

On June 3 Basotho made clear their desire for a clean break with the past and for the country to be led down a different path by new leaders.
Basotho voted for change. They voted for an end to rampant corruption, impunity, poor service delivery, political instability, high unemployment and economic stagnation.  They expect the new government to urgently investigate alleged corruption, enforce accountability, deliver services, bring back the rule of law, grow the economy and reduce poverty and unemployment.

This will require our new leaders to demonstrate through action (execution of well thought through policies) and not empty words that they are different and better than those who came before them i.e. those who brazenly pronounced that it is better to misgovern ourselves than to be governed well by others. (Nothing can be more remote from the truth. To misgovern is unacceptable).
With such beliefs, no wonder the congress movement is in shambles.

The message conveyed by the outcome of the elections was resounding and clear —Basotho are fed up with being misgoverned. They demand and expect drastic change. About two weeks on i.e. since power was transferred, I am not seeing signs that this expected massive change is imminent.
Two events caused my early discouragement.

The first event is that of the politician rumoured to have defected from a political party in the opposition being appointed to cabinet. This appointment should not have been made by THIS government given the higher moral position we expect it to assume always.
Basotho do not take kindly to politicians who cross the floor. It’s disturbing that instead of sanctioning this individual, he seems to have been rewarded.

It is a well-established fact that most Basotho when voting, vote for a party and not for individual politicians. A politician who crosses the floor, betrays and undermines the will of voters because when they cross the floor, parliament ceases to be reflective of how voters voted.
A single individual should not attach to themselves the power to change the complexion of our parliament.

In fact, when they claim ownership of a constituency seat, they are being dishonest because the seat does not belong to them but to the political party that voters voted for. And when they lay claim to a constituency seat after they have crossed, they are being thieves.
All the spinning in the world cannot change the fact that such conduct is abhorrent.

They can tell us the most beautiful stories e.g. the political party they are deserting has changed i.e. it no longer reflects the values and beliefs of its support base or that jumping ship will best serve the interests of their constituency blah blah blah. We will not be fooled because we know their true motives.Those who say but the law makes provision for it, imply for example that the subjugation that millions of South Africans were subjected to under apartheid was justifiable because it was legal. Nonsense.

Regardless of the Honourable Member’s talents and skills, what he did seriously tainted his reputation and brought his integrity into question.
This makes him unfit to serve as minister in His Majesty’s government. And because we expect much more from the new government, it is disheartening to see this objectionable behaviour being condoned and rewarded.

Surely being deceitful to electorates is a crime no less serious than murder, coup plotting, corruption, etc. This is not different from what the previous government did when they promoted to senior ranks shady characters when they should have hauled them before the courts of law so they could account for their alleged deviant ways.

My second disappointment (second event) is caused by those Members of Parliament who think that just because they won constituencies in their district, then they are entitled to cabinet positions. Such people belong in our past and not in the future we are looking forward to constructing.
These people seem unaware that the opportunity to hold the executive accountable and to approve government expenditure is an honour and privilege that only a fraction of Basotho will ever experience. Let alone the big responsibility to make the laws of our country.

Today is perhaps the most exciting time to be a Member of Parliament in this country because of the constitutional reforms that need to be implemented.

Overhauling the constitution of any country is an opportunity that comes once in a lifetime. So, I am not sure what these individuals consider to be more important than this work. Why is it so important for them to be cabinet ministers? Do they really want to serve this country or do they have other motives? We expect better than this. They need to remember that on June 3, we were setting the bar higher i.e. deciding the type of leadership we consider acceptable, competent and morally qualified to steer our national affairs and rejecting those who did not fit the standard.

More gaffes like the two discussed above unless stopped, will add up and eventually accumulate to a point where they erode people’s trust and confidence in their government. If you don’t believe me, ask Liphiri. A series of small gaffes then one major blunder after another is what cost them the election. These flimsy allegations of vote rigging are just a smokescreen to hide the truth.

My point if it’s still not clear to you, is that because of the high expectations Basotho have of their new government i.e. to bring about drastic and not cosmetic change to our political, social and economic life, there is no room nor the time for silly mistakes.
The appointment to cabinet of someone who has done something many Basotho regard as dishonest and the agitation for cabinet positions by some MPs is not a good start. It falls short of the required standard.

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